William J. Hutchins

William J. Hutchins (March 3, 1813 – June 4, 1884) was a businessman and a Mayor of Houston.

William J. Hutchins
Hutchins wm j.jpg
William J. Hutchins, Mayor of Houston
Mayor of Houston
In office
Personal details
BornMarch 3, 1813
Fishkill, New York[1]
DiedJune 4, 1884(1884-06-04) (aged 71)
Fort Worth, Texas
NationalityAmerican, Texan
OccupationRailway investor
Known forMayor of Houston, Railways

Early lifeEdit

Hutchins was born in Duchess County New York. He spent most of his childhood in New Bern, North Carolina, where he stayed until the age of twenty-two. In 1835, he relocated to Tallahassee, establishing himself as a merchant for three years before selling his interest. He arrived in Houston in 1838, after the town was established as the capital of the Republic of Texas. He worked there as a merchant.[1][2]

Business careerEdit

In addition to his activities as a commission merchant, Hutchins invested in several infrastructure development companies. He co-founded the Houston Plank Road Company; Houston Navigation Company; the Buffalo Bayou Ship Channel Company; and the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway—the first railroad to operate in Texas.[3][4][5]

Around 1860, Hutchins started construction of a new four-story, brick building on the site of the old City Hotel (1837-1859). Finally completed after the Civil War, the Hutchins House was open until it burned in the early 1900s.[6]

Hutchins served variously as a director, owner, and president of the Houston and Texas Central Railway. He and a partner purchased the railroad at auction in 1861 for $10,000.[1] Hutchins purchased the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway at auction in 1869 for $500.[7]

Hutchins was Vice-President of the Houston Insurance Company.[8]

According to the 1860 Census, Hutchins estimated his assets at $700,000 (equivalent to $19.9 million today), the second largest estate in Houston.[4]

Political careerEdit

Hutchins served as Alderman for Houston’s Second Ward for several terms. He also served a single term as Mayor of Houston in 1861. During the Civil War, he headed the Texas Cotton Board, charged with collecting cotton for the Confederate States and getting it to foreign markets in exchange for supplies and war materials.[1][2]

Hutchins, TX was named in his honor.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Julia Beazley (April 6, 2017). "HUTCHINS, WILLIAM J." Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b (1895)History of Texas, together with a biographical history of the cities of Houston and Galveston; containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named cities. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, p.276. https://archive.org/details/historyoftexasto01chic, accessed July 08, 2013.
  3. ^ Sibley, Marilyn McAdams (1968). The Port of Houston: A History. University of Texas Press. pp. 69, 92. ISBN 978-0292741737.
  4. ^ a b Muir, Andrew Forest (Jul 1960). "Railroads Come to Houston 1857-1861". The Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 64 (1): 42–63.
  5. ^ McComb, David G (1969). Houston: A History. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. pp. 24, 33. ISBN 0-292-730209. (First Trade Paperback Edition, 1981).
  6. ^ Young, Samuel Oliver (1912). A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston: Rein and Sons. pp. 49–51. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  7. ^ McComb, David G (1969). Houston: A History. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-292-730209.
  8. ^ Kirkland, William A. (1975). Old Bank-New Bank: the First National Bank of Houston, 1866-1956. Houston: Pacesetter Press. pp. 24–25.
Preceded by
Thomas W. Whitmarsh
Mayor of Houston, Texas
Succeeded by
Thomas William House